(From the ‘Introduction’ in a forthcoming Electoral Studies symposium, co-edited with Martin Rosema.) In electoral research decisions by voters are usually analysed as if they choose at once from the whole set of competing parties or candidates. Consideration Set Models (CSM) posit that voters choose differently, namely in two stages. In the first stage they exclude certain choice options and create a consideration set of viable options, while in the second stage they choose from within this set. In this paper we outline the theoretical foundations of Consideration Set Models for explaining and analysing electoral behaviour. Furthermore, we describe the corresponding approach for studying party choice and discuss the gains that this approach brings. Finally, we briefly summarize the other contributions to the special symposium of this journal and sketch some avenues for future research.
Professor Henrik Ekengren Oscarsson holds the chair in Electoral Studies at the Department of Political Science at the University of Gothenburg. He heads the Swedish National Election Studies program (SNES) and has recently completed a 7-year period as the research director of the SOM Institute. His main research interests concern representative democracy, elections, voter turnout, public opinion, and political methodology. On-going projects investigate voter perceptions of party pledges and pledge fulfillment, voters’ consideration sets, political sophistication, and partisanship. Recent publications are "The Nordic Voter: Myths of Exceptionalism" (with Kasper M Hansen, Åsa Bengtsson, Hanne-Marthe Narud and Olafur Hardarsson, 2013), “The Swedish Voter” (with Sören Holmberg, in Swedish, Wolter Kluwer 2016), “When and Why are Voters Correct in their Evaluations of Specific Government Performance?” (with Elin Naurin, Journal of Politics, 2017), and “Citizens and Political Sophistication” (with Lauri Rapeli, Oxford Handbook of Political Behavior, forthcoming 2017).